Energy audit backs solar
BIGGER would certainly have been better for Lynne and John Edwell when they had a solar hot water system and energy panels installed at their Aldershot home.
That fact was revealed yesterday when Clean Energy Council assessors John Walker and Gary Holt undertook an exhaustive energy audit on the home following the couple’s expression of disappointment in Monday’s Chronicle.
Ms Edwell had said that on top of a Federal Government rebate, they paid $6000 to have the hot water system and energy panels installed but their quarterly bills had dropped by just $18 a quarter ($72 a year), which was significantly less than the possible $700 saved annually as touted by the Department of Environment website.
Yesterday’s one-hour audit, however, revealed the couple had saved more money than they realised.
Mr Holt said the couple had saved $45 a quarter on hot water and about $80 on energy, which equalled a total of $500 a year.
“In energy, they’re exporting 10 per cent of their generating capacity at 44 cents and using 90 per cent (450kW).”
Mr Walker said the average energy use for the household, which included the Edwells and a friend who lived downstairs, was $240 a quarter.
“That’s with the solar system on,” he said.
“If you didn’t have the system on it’d be about $300.
“I’ve done about 800 energy audits on the Fraser Coast and a $300 electricity bill, with three adults in the house and a water pump, that would be the norm.”
Mr Holt said the misunderstanding had resulted from confusion about how the generation, use and billing of solar energy was calculated.
The Edwells’ home, however, had been fitted with a 1kW system when 2kW would better suit their needs.
“A 2kW system will put out 9kW a day; you’re using 3kW a day. In that 9kW with your peak generating period between 9am and 3pm, there’s a good chance you would export 4kW a day. So that 4kW is credited at 44 cents ... that’s $1.76 a day ... you’d be in the negative.”
“So I’d literally get no power bill?” Ms Edwell asked.
“That’s right, guaranteed,” Mr Holt said. “That is if use remained at 13kW.”
To upgrade to a 2kW system, however, would cost the couple about $8000.
Ms Edwell said she was thrilled with the result of the audit and that the confusion had been cleared up.
Mr Holt said people should check that solar energy system installers were BCSE accredited and manufacturers reputable.